L THE GOLDEN AGE OF ISLAM 75 lost sight. All men of learning, whether Moslems, Jews, Christians, or Pseudo-Sabaeans,1 were welcomed by the munificent Caliph, and search was diligently made for the works of the Greek historians, philosophers, and men of science in order that they might be translated into Arabic. It is very interesting to observe how among Moslems the various sciences sprang up in connexion, more or less. directly, with the study of the Koran. In the first place, the conversion of thousands of Persians and other conquered peoples created an urgent need for grammars and dictionaries. Then came the study of history, not only of the Arabs themselves but also of the Persians and Greeks, in order to explain the allusions to other peoples that were met with in the Koran and in old poems, which were collected and critically examined for the elucidation of rare or archaic, words. But still these studies did not satisfy, and the search for knowledge was continually pushed through new and more and more divergent channels. Thirdly, an acquaintance with geography became indispensable, not only for the study of the Koran but also for the very practical purpose of organizing the rapidly expanding Empire. Moslem Exploration and Geography?—The story of Moslem exploration, although mainly commercial, is of great interest, especially that carried on by sea outside the limits of the Empire. It was but a continuation of the old maritime activity of the Arabs and Persians, in proof of which we learn that Islam was preached at Canton, I among foreigners consisting mainly of Persians and Arabs, j between A.D. 618 and 626. In other words, the new religion had reached China before the Hijra, which fact points to considerable intercourse between Arabia and China. The earliest Arab records of the trade with 1 Vidt Browne's interesting account of the Pseudo-Sabaeans of Harran in vol. i. p. 302 of his op. tit. j also the account given of the Nestorians in Chapter XXXVIII. of this work, 2 For this section I have consulted The Dawn of Modern Geography, by Doctor Raymond Beazley; Lands of the Eastern Caliphate, by Guy le Strange; and the work of Chau Ju-Kua termed Chu-fan-chi, or " Description of Barbarous Peoples," translated and edited by F. Hirth and W. W. Rockhill. The two former books are valuable standard works, and the latter I have also found most useful.